A judge ruled yesterday that a Manchester man, arrested last week on multiple weapon charges, is too dangerous to be released on bail.
Gregory Girard, 45, of 23B Bridge St., is now being held bail pending a probable cause hearing set for March 15.
Salem District Court Judge Richard Mori's decision comes after the dangerousness hearing that started on Tuesday afternoon was suspended until yesterday; between both sessions, the hearing lasted about 41âÑ2 hours, according to Steve O'Connell, a spokesman for the Essex County District Attorney's office.
Girard was arrested the night of Feb. 9 after Manchester police were notified by the Boston office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of a tip that Girard had explosive hand-grenade devices along with a cache of other weapons in his house.
That night, Girard was specifically charged with illegally possessing tear gas and explosive pepper ball canisters, along with two police fixed batons and two police expandable batons. He was charged later in the week with having double-edged knives and modified gun silencers after the police requested further search warrants.
But police who took Girard into custody in a raid on his condominium on Feb. 9 also found approximately 20 weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition inside for which Girard was licensed.
There was also a large collection of military camouflage clothing, knives, several pairs of handcuffs, bulletproof vests and helmets, a large supply of medicine, and six months' worth of food supplies stored throughout the home.
Plus, police found an approximately 30-foot firing range in his attic, littered with shell casings and bolstered with ballistics backing.
Given that, he was also charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.
Prosecutor Assistant District Attorney Michelle DeCourcey asked Manchester police Detective Richard Newton for details about the night Girard was arrested and the weapons police seized. She also asked Newton about his background and education when it comes to police work.
Defense counsel Rebecca Whitehill argued during the Tuesday session that many of the weapons police say are illegal — and based Girard's arrest on — are actually legal and that the Manchester Police Department hasn't sought professional evaluation of the weapons. The ATF and other agencies left the night of the raid, before determining the hand-grenade devices were actually grenades.
Newton confirmed that there is no clear evidence that the grenades are explosive, and the department hasn't had any consulting on the devices to date. They will eventually be brought to the state police weapons lab, according to police.
Whitehill said the grenades could just be legal smoke bombs and not explosives. She also questioned the Police Department's revocation of Girard's license to carry these weapons based on unconfirmed information of illegal weapons being held in his house, and said the batons and double-edged knives are only illegal when a person is carrying them.
To prove her point, she asked Newton if and how many weapons he owns. Newton confirmed that he owns weapons and told the judge how much ammunition he has. This point, Whitehill said, was to show just because he owns weapons doesn't mean Girard is dangerous.
Girard's wife, Kristine Girard, also has a license to carry weapons and Whitehill stated that some of the weapons could be hers. Whitehill also said there is no evidence that Kristine Girard wasn't the one shooting in the attic.
DeCourcey also asked Newton about his contact with Girard's wife, who called police the night before police arrested her husband. Although she filed a report with police, it was a friend of hers that tipped off ATF.
According to police, Kristine Girard said that, while her husband hadn't threatened her, she was afraid to return home after an argument.
She said her husband had recently told her, "Don't talk to people, shoot them instead," and "It's fine to shoot people in the head because traitors deserve it," according to police reports.
In regard to the comments that Girard's wife made, Whitehill said police don't know what context that statements was made. She said the request for the search warrant did not indicate that there were no active threats.
During yesterday's continuation of the hearing, Whitehill said Kristine Girard has filed for divorce and questioned her motive for calling police about her husband.
Manchester Police Patrolman Kevin Clary was also questioned.
Jonathan Phelps may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3447 or email@example.com